Turtles partake in every food they are served. Be it fruits, vegetables, or meat, they will be happy to eat varieties.
If you’ve ever fed watermelon to your turtles, you will know how much they love binging on it.
However, just like with every other food, you should first know if feeding watermelon is safe for turtles or not.
Let’s find out.
Can Turtles Eat Watermelon?
Watermelon falls on the list of healthy food for turtles. But if fed in excess, it can cause bloating and other digestive disorders. In addition, it has a high amount of sugar, which can cause heart-related diseases and obesity.
So, you should feed watermelon in moderate amounts.
Here I’ve listed the nutrient content in a cup of watermelon (154g):
- Calories: 46.2
- Carbohydrate(g) :11.6
- Sugar(g): 9.6
- Fiber (g): 0.6
- Calcium (mg): 10.8
- Phosphorus (mg): 16.9
- Magnesium(mg): 15.4
- Potassium(mg): 172
- Vitamin C(mg): 12.5
- Vitamin A(mg): 43.1
Is Watermelon Safe For Turtles?
Watermelon, when given in moderation, is safe for turtles. It is rich in vitamin A, which is necessary for the growth and repair of cells. It is also a treat turtles explicitly love.
Some benefits of watermelon are:
Great Form Of Treat
Watermelon is among a turtle’s favorite treats. It has 92% water content, making it easy for turtles to swallow. So, they will gulp it within minutes.
If you have a turtle refraining from eating, try giving watermelon as a treat. It works as an inducer to normalize your turtle’s eating habits.
Rich In Fiber
The watermelon rind is rich in fiber. This helps turtles with constipation. Consider serving watermelon rind to ease digestion if your turtle has been feeding on a meat-only diet too much lately.
An Excellent Source Of Vitamin A
Turtles need vitamin A. It is one of the two essential vitamins required to keep them healthy. The other one is vitamin D.
Vitamin A helps in developing healthy skin, mucous membranes, and ducts.
Without vitamin A, turtles suffer from Hypovitaminosis A, which disrupts the normal functioning of their skin and vital organs.
Some of the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency in turtles are:
- Swollen Eyelids
- Loss of appetite, eventually leading to weight loss
- Mouth infection
- Respiratory illnesses
So, watermelon is a crucial agent to prevent vitamin A deficiency. It is rich in vitamin A, which isn’t the case with most fruits.
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What Are The Effects Of Feeding Too Much Watermelon To Turtles?
When fed in excess, we know that anything can have unwelcome repercussions. And feeding watermelon to your turtles in abundance is no exception. Here are some of the effects:
- It can cause digestive issues
- It can prevent absorption of calcium
- Overfeeding of watermelon can lead to obesity in turtles
It Can Cause Digestive Issues
Watermelon has FODMAP content. It is an acronym for a group of fermentable short-chain carbs which are either hard to digest or are indigestible.
The reason behind watermelon being grouped under FODMAP food is due to its high content of fructose, in simple terms, also known as sugar.
A high amount of sugar causes gas build-up inside a turtle’s body and results in bloating. And a bloated turtle isn’t a sign of a healthy turtle.
It Can Prevent Absorption Of Calcium
Most fruits aren’t rich in calcium. And, watermelons are the same. So, it isn’t going to contribute to a turtle’s daily calcium intake.
Like many other fruits, watermelon also has higher phosphorus content than calcium. This can cause calcium binding in a turtle’s body and prevent it from absorbing calcium and other necessary nutrients.
Overfeeding Of Watermelon Can Lead To Obesity In Turtles
Like I mentioned before, watermelons have high levels of sugar and calories.
So, if your turtle has been eating watermelon in excess, it will be hard to burn off the carbohydrate and decrease fructose levels from its system. Just like with us, it cannot be done without a tenacious workout regime.
Hence, turtles binging on watermelons are inevitably bound to get obese.
Can You Give Watermelon To Turtles Daily?
According to webverts, a turtle’s diet should comprise 80 to 90% of plant material like vegetables and flowers. In contrast, the fruits should account for only 10 to 20%. So, it is not recommended to feed watermelons daily to your turtles.
High sugar content, inappropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio, and chances of obesity are the reasons why you shouldn’t feed watermelon daily.
How Often Should You Feed Watermelon To Your Turtles?
You can feed watermelons once a week to your turtles. This feeding frequency will fulfill their vitamin A requirements without causing sugar spikes, digestive problems, or obesity.
Can Turtles Eat Watermelon Rind?
Yes, turtles can definitely eat watermelon rind. In fact, the rind has more nutritional value than the juicy red fruit itself.
While consuming the fruity part excessively can cause digestive problems, the rind treats constipation.
However, you need to do the following first before feeding watermelon rind to your turtles:
- Wash the rind properly. They may contain residues of insecticides or pesticides. So, it is necessary to clean them beforehand.
- Cut them into tiny bite-sized pieces to lessen the chances of a choking hazard.
Can Turtles Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Did you know that watermelon has 200 to 800 seeds? This many seeds can choke your turtles – thus, you need to remove the seeds before feeding.
If you want to know how to take out seeds from a watermelon quickly, here’s a video from a Japanese fruit channel. The Japanese sure know how to do things efficiently.
Final Words On Can Turtles Eat Watermelon?
Not many fruits provide vitamin A like watermelon does. And if you are a doting turtle owner like me, you should know that vitamin A is downright essential for turtles.
It helps in building muscles and keeps a turtle’s vitals intact.
However, as fruits should comprise only 10 to 20% of a turtle’s diet, feed watermelon only in moderation.
Watermelons are not only rich in vitamin A but also in sugar. So, feeding watermelons to your turtles in excessive amounts can cause sugar spikes and obesity.
Tip: You can feed your turtle watermelon once or twice a week.
Also, the rind is richer in nutrition than the fruit itself. However, you have to cut it into bite-sized pieces to avoid choking.